Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pressure Drop

According to Mike Selvey in this morning's Grauniad, the reason Andrew Strauss got the nod over Owais Shah for the current test was because -

"he had done well in a torrid net from two angry bowlers in Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard."

Say, what???!!!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if the ball hits the stumps when you're in the nets, you turn round and put the bails back on before preparing for the next delivery. If you hit one in the air, someone will call out "caught at mid off", before you, once again, prepare to face the next ball.

In other words, there's very little pressure on you when you're batting. It's purely practice, and bears as much relation to what actually happens out in the middle as rice pudding does to arsenic.

Incidently, the same goes for bowling. If Duncan Fletcher was to be believed, Saj Mahmood was the second coming of Sir Harold Larwood if his net performance was anything to go by, yet when push came to shove out in the middle and the pressure was on, Saj couldn't hit a barn door from ten paces. So there's a certain amount of (very irritating) irony that Steve Harmison has Lord Snooty in trouble in the nets, yet was only able to give an impression of Ian Greig with the ball in the first test.

Maybe this explains why Lord Snooty looked so stunned when he was out earlier today. He looked around, and couldn't understand why the Black Caps were celebrating like mad, until he suddenly twigged that this was 'for real'. Or maybe it was the pithy "f*** off, posh knickers" from Stephen Fleming that brought reality to bear...

I thought we'd left all the 'looks good in the nets' bullshit behind with the advent of the Peter Moores regime. Sadly not.

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